New Delhi, Jan 25: Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today expressed desire to double trade with India to USD 14 billion by 2014 and forge maritime partnership to develop seaport at Dawei,a strategic location on the southwestern coast of Myanmar.
Addressing leaders of Indian industry at the luncheon meeting hosted by Assocham, Ficci and CII here,Shinawatra said, the two countries can also have cooperation in developing the port infrastructure at Chennai.
“My government has decided to invest in transport and connect with our neighbours...we could set up a maritime linkage with Chennai and Dawei seaport in Myanamar..,” the visiting Prime Minister said, adding the road connectivity can also be developed.
Dawei is a strategic location for India to get access to South East Asian markets. China is investing heavily in the countries neighbouring India.
Shinawatra said India-Thailand trade has seen a quantum jump from USD one billion to USD seven billion in the last ten years, helped by ‘Early Harvest' pact, limited to 82 items.
The two countries want to upgrade it to a full-fledged Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) covering not only goods but also services and investment.
“We will work together to finalise FTA (CEPA) by middle of this year. This will cut the tariff on remaining products. This is why the two governments are setting up a goal to double the bilateral trade to USD 14 billion in 2014,” Shinawatra, who would be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations, said.
She said there is a potential to collaborate in areas like IT, manufacturing, tourism and medical services.
“We hope to work together to set up a high-level forum with businessmen,” she said.
Stating that Thailand has expertise in the manufacturing sector, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said, “We would like to invite your companies and institutions to become partner in this. You have achieved a lot in construction of highways, ports and airports.”
In October last year, the government had cleared the National Manufacturing Policy (NMP), which seeks to set up mega industrial zones.
The policy aims to raise the share of manufacturing in the country's Gross Domestic Product to 25 per cent from 16 per cent at present. It is expected to create 100 million jobs in the sector.
Sharma also said Thailand companies can look at investing in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project, which aims to create industrial infrastructure covering over 1,483 km.
“I would request your industry to look at investing along the corridor....,” he said, adding that Thailand's strength—especially in electronic software manufacturing—could help India to complete its projects related to innovation and manufacturing.
Meanwhile, an agreement was signed between Delhi-based Indo Rama Synthetics and Bangkok's Indorama Ventures for setting up a facility in India for polyester fibre at an investment of USD 700 million.